Le Monde, France
Lack of Cocktails for the ‘Bohemian Bourgeois’ of TriBeCa
By Isabelle Piquer
Translated By Veronica Orecharova
1 November 2012
Edited by Jane Lee
France - Le Monde - Original Article (French)
It’s not in order to get business, but rather to provide a service to his neighbors, that Ron Silver opened the doors of his restaurant, Bubby’s, in a TriBeCa still without electricity. But when the neighbors are “bobos” [bohemian bourgeois] for whom Hurricane Sandy was not more than a small upset, it is not always easy for him to keep his cool.
“Tuesday night, even though I was alone in the kitchen and was also the waiter, a guy asked me to make him one of our cocktails, a Bee’s Knees, telling me that it was on the menu. I was stunned! I quickly made it clear to him what he could do.”*
Mr. Silver has seen other upsets, above all after Sept. 11. “We reopened as soon as the neighborhood became habitable again. I love TriBeCa, I have been here 22 years, I do this for the community.” Even if the community is made up of millionaires and stars. He is one of the only ones to have reopened, as most of the businesses have stayed closed, with people preferring to stay home; everything is deserted. At Bubby’s, there were about 10 people there to savor the dish of the day, roast chicken and mashed potatoes. “Thanks Ron, it’s nice to be here,” said a regular.
Several streets away, Edward Youkilis also decided to open his restaurant. “Instead of throwing out the food, [he] preferred to improvise a small free buffet” on his Broadway sidewalk. He looks at his clock; it stopped at 8:28. “Monday evening or Tuesday morning, don’t really know, but there is still gas.” His cooks, coming by car from Queens despite the traffic, are making hamburgers. There is a little salad and the inescapable bagels. Several neighbors chat, the police officers who patrol the neighborhood stop for a coffee. “At least they don’t ask for aspartame.”
Here, “everybody loves Edward. He did the same thing after the attacks, but the circumstances were very different, we were much sadder.” Bobbie Oliver brought her racket. She is about to play a tennis match: “That will put me in a good mood, and it’s nice so nice out.” A painter, she missed a private viewing of her paintings in Laguna Beach, California. “Impossible to call my gallery; my cellphone does not work.”
Sitting at his counter, Mr. Youkilis hesitates to reopen the bar. “I tried Tuesday night, but I decided that it wasn’t worth it when someone asked me for ice for his whiskey.” He does not know whether he will set out candles to attract the clientele or close shop when night falls. “Without electricity, you can’t use credit cards; that becomes very complicated.”
Seeing as TriBeCa has once again become a bit primitive since the hurricane, why not continue to brave the elements and risk breaking Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-smoking laws? “Tonight you will be able to smoke at the bar,” declared Mr. Silver, himself a chronic smoker. “Might as well take advantage. Tomorrow I am going to have to find a generator for my refrigerators and order a new stock of merchandise.” This will have to include the makings of a Bee’s Knees: gin, several measures of lemon and a little honey, well shaken in a cocktail shaker and served chilled.
* This and all other quotes, while accurately translated, could not be verified, as they appear to have been gathered directly by the journalist and thus not published in English.
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